We are thrilled to announce that Rabbi Deena Cowans has accepted the Associate Rabbi position at Mishkan. Rabbi Deena, a Chicago native, wowed Mishkan community members and staff with her warmth, intelligence, and ability to build meaningful relationships with individuals and in groups. As the Family Programs Director at Congregation Ansche Chesed in NYC and Director of Education at Camp Ramah in the Rockies, she brings significant experience with kids and family programming. Additionally, she brings extensive expertise and skills in social justice and community building.

While it may not have been the most traditional interview process (travel restrictions were already in place when we narrowed down our list of top candidates), Rabbi Deena dazzled over 70 community members when she taught a virtual class during the first week of shelter-in-place. While we received over a dozen other applications from qualified rabbis in the USA, Canada and Israel, Rabbi Deena was our top candidate. Lucky for us, we were her top choice, as well, and she accepted our offer to begin in early July.

Stay tuned for opportunities to meet Rabbi Deena. We look forward to welcoming Rabbi Deena, her fiance Zack, and their dog Ash home – to Chicago and to Mishkan. 

About Rabbi Deena
Rabbi Deena Cowans expects to graduate from the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2020, where she will receive rabbinic ordination and a Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Deena is currently the Family Programs Director at Congregation Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She is also completing her second 400-hour unit of chaplaincy training, working as a hospice chaplain. Previously, she served as Director of Education at Camp Ramah in the Rockies, the Slifka Rabbinic Fellow at Cornell University, and as a prison re-entry chaplain at the Exodus Transitional Community. Prior to enrolling at JTS, Deena received a Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and a BA from Duke University. She has worked all over the world, including Uganda, Nepal, Israel, and the United States, and is thrilled to be returning to her hometown of Chicago (technically, she grew up in Glencoe, but O’Hare is her hometown airport and the Bulls are her hometown basketball team). In her free time, she enjoys training for and running marathons, practicing and teaching yoga, cooking, and spending time with her fiancé Zack and their dog Ash.